She-Wolf of the Day: TSgt Molly Callen

She-Wolf of the Day: TSgt Molly Callen

by Senior Airman Divine Cox, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Kunsan Air Base

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- In late 2008, after returning home from a deployment, she was diagnosed with cancer.

"I was very blessed to have already found the love of my life," said Tech. Sgt. Molly Callen, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team lead. "Without my husband, I don't know how I would have handled the news."

The next year would be the most difficult part of the Callens' lives as Molly underwent many surgeries and chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer.

"After the doctors told me that the cancer was gone and I was in remission, I thought things would just be better, that everything would return to normal," said Callen. "But I was wrong."

Callen spent the next three years trying to do her job again; but there was a lot of paperwork, monitoring and evaluating being done to see if she was fit for duty.

Callen said the military is very careful about returning a person to work after being diagnosed with cancer. "It took a lot of luck and a lot more miracles, but I was returned to full duty and allowed to do my job again."

Besides her job as an EOD technician, Callen loves being involved and helping where help is needed.

"I enjoy helping people," she said. "Growing up, my sisters and I were taught the importance of helping others. I watched my parents live that belief every day."

Callen's father retired from the Air Force a few years after she enlisted. She also has two sisters, one who recently separated from the Air Force, and another who currently serves.

"I grew up as a military brat," she said. "We moved every two years from base to base. Growing up I lived in Germany and Florida several times, Italy, Korea (Osan), Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Alabama, and Virginia."

While living in Osan AB, that's when she realized joining the military was a way to give back.

"When I was a sophomore in high school, following exercises they played Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," just as they do now," Callen said. "Watching the emotions and pride on the faces of the men and women always fascinated and inspired me. I made up my mind then and there to join the military."

After defeating cancer and fighting to return to the job she loves, Callen discovered a new meaning for the term "strength."

"Know yourself," she said. "Don't run from your weaknesses or hide from them. Get stronger in the areas you are able to strengthen yourself, and understand that you could be stronger in areas where others are weaker. Identify these areas in your life and use your strengths to build others up as much as possible."

Callen's plan is to stay in the Air Force until she retires and get her master's degree while she continues to serve.

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